Back to articles page
St. Augustine Ain't That Bad

Walt C. Snedeker

I was out in the back yard the other day, playing frisbee with my neighbor's dog. Boy! Did he make a weird noise... Anyway, The Fabled PC called me in to inform me that we were going to take a vacation over a long weekend, and that we were going to St. Augustine.
When I pointed out that it might have been nice to check with me first to see if:
a.) I had the time available to go, and
b.) Did I want to go
--She stated emphatically that we had discussed the whole thing at length, and that not only had I arranged for the free time to do it, but St. Augustine had been my idea in the first place.
Now, I knew that behind those perky little eyes resides a diabolically one-track mind, and that she was simply not correct in her statement. I forebore pushing my correctitude in the matter, partly because I felt that there was no sense in being pessimistic (it probably wouldn't help anyway). One other trifling item was the signed letter purportedly written by me that she was waving about in her slim, dainty hand to the owner of the Whale's Tale Bed 'n Breakfast requesting a room for the weekend.
"Oh, no?" she snorkled archly.
So rather than argue about it, I decided to acquiesce, and cooperate in the matter. I referred myself to Waltie's Rule About Women #221: "There are two ways to handle women... and I don't know either."
To reestablish my proper verbal superiority (verbal is all I try for), I smugly told her a fundamental truth:
"There is no known case of a double affirmative being used as a negative."
"Yeah, right." she answered. Sheesh!
Anyway, we hopped in our motorized Spam can, and began our trek. By eleven o'clock, we were really ready for breakfast. Then misfortune struck. I happened to notice a guilty looking billboard sign sniggering about a "chocolate factory" just up ahead. Luckily for me, stupidity isn't painful. Without even thinking, I nudged my dainty bride, and asked if she wanted to see a chocolate factory.
"Ooh, yes! Ooh, yes! Oohyesoohoohyesooo!!"
I suddenly realized from her reaction that I had once again stepped on the landmine of stupididity. I have oft observed (and most always belatedly) that life is fraught with opportunities to keep one's mouth shut. But rising to the peak of dimwittedness by asking my starveling chocoholic if she wanted to go into a chocolate factory before a delayed breakfast... well...
We bought a one-pound slab of delicious milk chocolate. One day later, it was gone. I got one small piece. Perhaps The Fabled PC was protecting me. I don't know why though, because I'm immortal... so far.
One problem's for sure: if I gain any more weight, I will have to let out my living room. I tried to distract my copper-topped darling with such clever aphorisms as, "Dear, fat sort of snacks up on you." And, "Gee, I'd better make sure we don't eat all this chocolate up really quickly, 'cause I'm so fat, my blood type is Ragu." Didn't work. Ever see a gorgeous redhead with an ear to ear chocolate smile? It has its appeal, but kissies are sticky.
Did I mention St. Augustine? We got there about six at night. PC and Your Humble Obedient &tc. always travel very light with luggage. We learned this the hard way, by straining gizzards carrying useless stuff all over Europe. Now we pack a single suitcase. That way, we are almost certainly missing something important, thereby livening up any trip.
The owner of the B&B looked at the single suitcase clutched in my drive-cramped hand and laid a cold, hard eye on me (which feels just as disgusting as it sounds). But I wouldn't let him carry it upstairs. I was feeling very Rocky Mountain, having showed up at the impossible street address of the Whale's Tale without the slightest problem. I explained that I always carry my suitcase, ever since the folks working the Hubble telescope announced that they had discovered that the rings of Saturn were composed of lost airline luggage.
Actually, the place was really quite easy to find. It was just that the street it was on was only twelve feet wide -- and that included sidewalks. We weren't sure that we were even on a bona fide road, when bingo! There it was.
Inside, it was squeaky clean, with lots of knickknacks and things in our lovely room (with a nice little balcony overlooking the rent).
We went wandering about, shivering in the night chill. We stopped at a nice looking bar-cum-restaurant for a cocktail before dinner.
As luck would have it, there was a lady on my left at the bar (PC on the right) who kept staring at me. When I finally broke down at looked at her, she volunteered:
"Hallo. I am from Cologne, Chermany. I am here without a car or any money and I do not know anybody. I do not know how to get to Orlando International Airport from here. I leaf Zunday night for home."
"Yikes!" I thought. I looked at PC. She looked back at me with those big blue eyes that were saying, "WHUT?"
At that moment, the waiter came over to tell PC that our table upstairs was ready. She got up and headed toward the stairs.
Ever the easy touch, Your Humble Obedient &tc. snaffled a twenty out of my wallet, and pressed it on the lady.
She was stunned. "Oh, I haf credit cards, I do not need any money. That iss very kind of you, but no, no."
"Well, I hope you can get to Orlando OK. Good luck" I was truly nonplused. I had sincerely thought the pleasant looking woman was, well... bumming. Not so. Just lonely and worried. I reached the table upstairs where PC was already sitting.
"You gave her money, didn't you. I know how you react to ladies with problems." After 36 years, folks know the folks they are married to.
"I would have, but she wouldn't take any."
So the Fabled PC got another star in her crown. She absolutely went downstairs, took the German lady by the arm, and brought her back up to sit and have dinner with us. And she offered that we would drive her to Orlando on Sunday. And so we did. She was a very nice person, and it turns out that we got her out of a real pickle. Some fink of a guy she knew for 20 years just drove off and left her. There's no figuring some folks.
The Fabled PC and Your Humble Obedient &tc. drove all the way home from Orlando feeling quite smug and noble. 'Tis a nice feeling.
Did I mention St. Augustine?

If you have any comments, please mail me